What Is a Data Type in Python Definition?


Heather Bennett

When working with Python, understanding data types is essential. Data types define the type of value that a variable can hold.

Python has several built-in data types, each serving a specific purpose. In this article, we will explore what data types are in Python and how they are used.

What is a Data Type?

A data type is a classification that determines the type of value a variable can store. It defines the operations that can be performed on the variable and the way the variable is stored in memory.

Built-in Data Types in Python

Python has several built-in data types, including:

  • Numeric: Numeric data types include integers, floats, and complex numbers. Integers represent whole numbers without decimal points, floats represent real numbers with decimal points, and complex numbers consist of a real part and an imaginary part.
  • Sequence: Sequence data types include strings, lists, and tuples. Strings are sequences of characters enclosed in single or double quotes, lists are ordered collections of items enclosed in square brackets, and tuples are similar to lists but have immutability.
  • Mappings: The mapping data type includes dictionaries. Dictionaries are unordered collections of key-value pairs enclosed in curly braces.

    Each value can be accessed using its associated key.

  • Sets: The set data type includes Sets. Sets are unordered collections of unique elements enclosed in curly braces or created using the set() constructor.
  • Boolean: The boolean data type includes True and False. It is used for logical operations and represents the truth values.
  • None: The None data type represents the absence of a value. It is often used to indicate that a variable has no value assigned.

Determining the Data Type of a Variable

To determine the data type of a variable, you can use the type() function in Python. For example:

x = 5
# Output: <class 'int'>

In this example, we assign the value 5 to the variable x, and then we use the type() function to determine its data type, which is an integer.

Casting Data Types

In Python, you can convert one data type to another using casting. Python provides several built-in functions for casting:

  • int(): Converts a value to an integer data type.
  • float(): Converts a value to a float data type.
  • str(): Converts a value to a string data type.
  • list(): Converts an iterable object into a list.
  • tuple(): Converts an iterable object into a tuple.
  • dict(): Converts two-value iterables into a dictionary.
  • set(): Converts an iterable object into a set.

For example:

x = "10"
# Output: <class 'str'>

x = int(x)
# Output: <class 'int'>

In this example, we initially define x as a string. By using the int() function, we cast x to an integer, changing its data type accordingly.


Data types in Python define the nature of the values that variables can hold. They allow Python programmers to work with different types of data efficiently. Whether it’s numeric, sequence, mapping, boolean, or other data types, understanding and utilizing them correctly is fundamental to writing effective Python code.

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